Taking Stock: Work Underway

Collectively, we’re working on about three things at once (or each in turn):

1) Project editors are preparing a selection of plays, poems, the first edition of Our Village and a small cluster of letters in TEI XML. What’s next: preparing for a first wave of context encoding (and associated research). I’m nearly ready with a set of coding guidelines for this, hashed out during some very helpful Google Plus hangout sessions this week with members of our project team.

2) As we launch this project, we need to create for ourselves (and for interested visitors to our site) some searchable surveys of:

–where Mitford’s manuscripts are located: which archives hold what items, when they were written, to what recipients, etc.
–for each of her literary texts, a survey of how many versions exist, in what forms, where published and when, and how we can access them.

This is the work of bibliography–and I’m glad we have an excellent “history of the book” scholar on our team to help us coordinate this! We are also identifying bibliographies on Mitford that can help us, and we’re very much indebted to the efforts of one William Allan Coles, who worked steadily on his own on Mitford’s letters as a Harvard PhD student in the 1950s, and produced some excellent material for us surveying her publications in magazines, among other matters. More recently David Hill Radcliffe has compiled an excellent assortment of Mitford’s publications and commentary, working with the available 19th-c. texts on his excellent database, “Spenser and the Tradition: English Poetry 1579-1830.” In particular, please see his profile of Mary Russell Mitford and related materials.

What’s next: I’m working with Lisa Wilson and Greg Bondar on compiling spreadsheets with this information, which we can then transform into clean XML to prepare for searching.

3) We consider what kinds of funding we need for the work ahead. What tasks need to be accomplished, what long-term work must we do and how much time will it take? As we identify locations of Mitford’s texts and papers, this will help us identify materials we want to prioritize for our current editing projects over the next one to two years. What’s next: Identify early tasks that will help our project and associated expenses. Seek funding opportunities (and accumulate information and draft proposals in our shared Project Support folder.

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